Former New York City and Los Angeles police chief Bill Bratton happened to be in Las Vegas doing security reviews for casinos the day after Sunday’s massacre. The Boston Globe asked Bratton to comment on the event. While he is critical of Congress, saying too many there are beholden to the National Rifle Association and gun manufacturers, he said it is too easy to lay the blame solely at the foot of Capitol Hill. The Globe says Bratton is surprisingly lukewarm on the need to restore the assault rifle ban, which expired in 2004. He said the ban was largely symbolic, and that manufacturers were able to circumvent it by making slight modifications.
“We have to focus on people,” Bratton said, “and I hate to say that, because it plays into the NRA position. But there’s nothing you can do about the stranglehold that the NRA and the gun industry has on Congress. Here in the Northeast, we are for the most part not part of a gun culture; we don’t see that.” Bratton said the sad reality is that we are a nation with more guns than people. “There are 350 million guns out there, and we can’t take them back,” he said. “We can improve registration. We can have a better handle on who has these guns. In terms of gun control, so much more could be done.” Given the political reality in Congress, he thinks it’s imperative that state and local governments forge ahead with locally tailored efforts. “With assault weapons, certain cities didn’t have problems. New York didn’t have problems, but Los Angeles and Atlanta did. That’s why I’ve spent time on laws at the local level, focusing on those who use the guns and sell the guns,” he said.